Work 2.0 Lab is a new collaborative working and learning environment. It is available to all agencies and civil servants in government and other organisations involved in the 2-years experiment. The purpose is to promote better, higher quality ideas, solutions and decisions on cross-cutting matters outlined for example in the government program. Work 2.0 Lab provides the structures and platforms (environments, spaces, networks, methods) for collaborative learning needed to work together.
Work 2.0 Lab is responding to the commonly identified current acute needs in Finland, such as 1) need to phenomenon-based preparation 2) increase of location-independent and mobile work 3) work in collaborative spaces 4) smart & digital work 5) collaborative learning and 6) networking across sectors and silos.
State and public administration in Finland have for several years been purposefully building a route towards a working culture which is based on cross-functional collaboration and agile experiments. Future working models and spaces in Finnish public sector are increasingly being built on working together and learning form each other. Also 12 ministries are developed to function as a unified Council of State. Working in ecosystems and collaborations between different actors, building test platforms for public service development etc. are also more and more on agenda.
Work 2.0 Lab is open also for various networks, been formed during the last 10 years. There is a growing movement towards agile, cross-functional, open minded and future oriented professional networks open to all civil servants in Finnish Government / state Administration. These networks are normally loosely organized and self-directing, teams of experts from different ministries and agencies, with various backgrounds, education and expertise. More often these networks work in ecosystems where actors come also outside the Government organizations, i.e. from municipalities, private sector companies, associations etc. What unites the network members is a strong commitment and will to build up a working culture, based on a ‘whole of government’ mind set and a ‘crossing the silos’ way of working. Participants are not nominated to represent their background organizations. Instead, they are volunteers with strongly committed approach to do their work better and more effectively.
Many civil servants are willing to test and adopt modern, experimental, digital and agile ways of working. As well Work 2.0 Lab's aim is to help to make a systemic change which aims to look relationships and explores the dynamics between different actions and parts. It also helps civil servants to work in a more dynamic and solution oriented mode, increased common understanding and instead of treating the symptoms, solving the systemic problems. Work 2.0 Lab is also a development process that enables the emergence of a new, humancentric "Civil Servant 2.0"-identity.
The principles guiding the work at Work 2.0 Lab are
- Cross borders, be curious
- Explore, try, learn, fix
- Invite others to join
- Let things emerge
- Forget prejudices, surprise and be surprised
- Prototype, try, and quickly implement
New roles have also been built to support the Lab -concept: Hosts welcomes visitors to the Lab and introduces the house and explains the concept and idea of the Lab. Facilitator supports users in planning and implementing the events and workshops. However, the user brings to the Lab the themes to be worked on and the substance knowledge. Users also take responsibility for the proceeding of the work.
As a summary: We encourage officials and organisations to come to the Lab when they
- are facing a complex phenomenon or new entity
- are looking for new perspectives and approaches for preparation
- want to try, learn and get results fast
- need as much different kind of knowledge and experience as possible
- want to promote an issue that does not yet have an “official” administrative headquarters
Work 2.0 Lab -experiment provides a platform for various user experiences that can be used to design a more permanent operational model and space solution based on collaboration. At best, similar platforms would emerge elsewhere in Finland.
What Makes Your Project Innovative?
Work 2.0 Lab is unique in Finland, because it has been designed and organized by a group of public sector organizations, networking with partners also outside of public administration. It is also a first serious and concrete Artifact / Innovation Hub in Finland representing a "public sector as a whole" -type of working culture, showing also a way towards a public sector as part of ecosystems. It is building concrete bridges between administrative silos and offers a platform for solving so called wicked problems in a society together.
What is the current status of your innovation?
Work 2.0 Lab was opened to users on December 11th 2019. It has got a good flying start and is in good spirits at the moment. Until the mid of February it has been extensively found by different actors, public sector organisations as well as individual civil servants. Themes that have been prepared at Lab so far are such as "Building a sustainable city" -programme, formulating a new "Public sector strategy", developing "Tomorrow's HR -management in public sector organisations" and "Renewal of the Finnish Innovation Strategy", to name a few. Work 2.0 Lab is also offering temporary work space for individual civil servants, for example on their way from a meeting to another. A number of facilitators from various governmental organizations have been assembled to support the preparation. A new kind of hosting practices have also been introduced as well as an "Työ 2.0" application. The application allows you to reserve space and enter the premises.
Collaborations & Partnerships
Work 2.0 Lab's origin was designed in collaboration between Ministry of Finance, Senate Properties, State Treasury and Government ICT Center Valtori. Partners (in addition to the previous ones) financing the experiment are Prime Minister's Office, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Ministry of Education, Itla Children's Foundation, City of Helsinki, Sustainable City Program and Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland .
Users, Stakeholders & Beneficiaries
When the decision to start designing the experiment was made, other partners began to search. Open workshops were organized in which anyone from any government organization or potential partner organisation could participate. Service design methods were used in the workshops. Work 2.0 Lab is widely open to different actors. Anyone allowed to use the Lab can and is encouraged to invite anyone they think has something to contribute to the preparation, meaning also non-governmental stakeholders.
Results, Outcomes & Impacts
Work 2.0 Lab has received enthusiastic reception. Within two months the number of visitors has increased all the time. About 800 people have downloaded the application. There have been 5 requests for fasilization so far this spring, with the goal of doing things in a new way. On Fridays, the lab hosts different events on different themes. This spring following themes will be open to explore and learn: intelligent teams, design by gaming, customer orientation in service design and place independent working. The experiment will also be explored and measured with various ways and indicators. This is currently under preparation. The main means of communication has been web pages launched in December 2019. Lab information has been also widely disseminated on social media such as the Työ 2.0 Face Book Group and Twitter #tyo2piste0lab. User feedback is constantly being collected online. Virtual / digital Work 2.0 Lab is in serach. The concept is constantly being developed with partners.
Challenges and Failures
Among others, the following risks and challenges have been identified: 1) As the experiment is carried out in a networked manner and no permanent or permanent resource has been allocated to it, there is a risk that its effects will be small or one-off. 2) Because established policies, leadership structures, or performance management practices are not based on cross-border cooperation in principle, there is a risk that the experiment will not trigger sufficient systemic change 3) We must remember that Work 2.0 Lab is an experiment where not everything is ready from the start, but instead we start working together to find the best working models and learn new things 4) There is also a recognized danger that the lab will remain only a place found by pioneers and it is not found by sufficiently diverse users. 5) There is a strong will to form an ecosystem of different user groups and a risk not succeed in this. a technical and physical environment group has been established.
Conditions for Success
Above all, a lab needs an enthusiastic group of people and dedicated preparation, maintenance and development team to succeed. On the other hand, culture also needs to be ready to adopt a lab-like approach. There is a need for a broad understanding that cross-border cooperation and phenomenon-based preparation are worthwhile. The experience that collaboration produces better results than doing it alone helps. There is also a need for forward-looking funders who believe that without experimentation one cannot create an entirely new. At the individual level, courage, vision and the ability to dream even seemingly impossible things are required. Strong support and mandate from the management is also needed. In this case, it was also helped that we were able to connect the experiment to the value and content of the very new government program.
It is our firm goal that the lab -experiment succeeds so well that the lessons learned from it can be utilized when similar labs are set up elsewhere in Finland. The Work 2.0 Lab also puts into practice the cultural change we've been making for years. The experiment gives us good experience in further promoting cross-border cooperation in Government as well as in society as a whole. At its best, the experiment also helps us to reform leadership from individual issues to systemic and collaborative leadership. We believe that cooperation will save resources and increase effectiveness. This will ultimately also benefit the citizens, Work 2.0 Lab provides a platform for this.
Our lessons learned for now are: Get started with a critical mass of enthusiastic pioneers. Get sponsorships from leaders. Dream big. Remember "It is easier to be forgiven than permission". Get started by experimenting. Keep your partners and stakeholders constantly involved and informed. Communicate actively and multichannel. Be flexible and ready to change your original plan if needed. Be persistent and don't give up. Believe in what you do. It carries forward.
- Developing Proposals - turning ideas into business cases that can be assessed and acted on
5 August 2020